From our favorite burger and breakfast stop to our favorite beach and breweries.

Bradenton, Florida, once a sacred American Indian burial ground, has no records of a direct storm hitting the area dating back to eighteen seventy-one. Inexpensive, direct flights can be found with Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air from Pittsburgh International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

1. Motorworks Brewing

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With about eighteen beers on tap, Motorworks Brewing has a beer for everyone from Lavender Verbena Pale Ale and Bourbon Coffee Cake Porter to Birthday Carrot Cake Brown Ale.
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There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, an outdoor music stage with live performances, corn hole, giant outdoor games, and complimentary popcorn. Customers can order from a rotating line up of five different food trucks in lieu of a kitchen.

2. Old Maine Street

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Old Maine Street, located in historic downtown Bradenton, is a small collection of restaurants and bars. We have to stop into McCabe’s Irish Pub for a Guinness. For a more relaxed atmosphere, Cork’s Cigar Bar has been serving local drafts for more than 10 years. Loaded Barrel, open everyday form 12:00pm – 2:30am, has a great selection of draft beers and delicious pizza available late into the evening.

3. Coquina Beach

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Named for the abundance of tiny coquina clams, Coquina Beach is one of the longest stretches of beach on Anna Maria Island. Located on the southern tip of the island, the white sand beaches are less crowded than the central beaches. A free trolley travels the length of the island from Anna Maria City Pier to Coquina Beach from 6:00am-10:30pm.
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Walking a few steps up the beach, Coquina Beach Café serves breakfast, lunch, beer, and frozen drinks from 8:00am until 4:00pm. No shoes required.

4. The Sage Biscuit Café

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Sage Biscuit Café, Our favorite breakfast spot with an airy outdoor patio, delicious sage biscuits, and many vegan or vegetarian options. My Egg White Garden Omelet (left) was overflowing with veggies.

5. Beer Can Island

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Boarding a pntoon boat at Florida’s Premier live aboard and large boat marina, Regatta Point Marina, there isn’t a cloud in the sky as our captain heads towards Beer Can Island.
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Walking along the white sand beach, is a section of the island with smooth, sun bleached drift wood and colorfully painted trees.
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Swings of difference sizes are scattered throughout the island. Small lizards scurry about in the shade of the trees.
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Beyond the drift wood is pier, with an uninterrupted view of the ocean…except for a couple of fisherman.
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The second bridge built to access Northern Anna Maria island, Manatee Avenue Bridge, connects Bradenton and Holmes Bach. After a perfect day on Beer Can island, we pass over the bridge just as the sun disappears into the ocean in an array of pinks, purples, and oranges.

6. Skinny’s Place

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A trip to Bradenton isn’t complete without a visit to Skinny’s Place, serving the number one burger since nineteen fifty-two. For non-burger lovers, chicken, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and a veggie burger are also on the menu. Enjoy the reggae music, original decor, and relaxed beach vibes with a cold mug of beer.

7. Three Keys Brewing and Eatery

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3 Keys Brewery has amazing service, beers, and food. With over 20 beers on tap ranging from a Mango Habanero Blonde to a Florida Weiss, we couldn’t choose just one flight. The menu consists of pizza, appetizers, burgers, waffle sandwiches, salads, and many vegan or vegetarian friendly options. We enjoyed our flights on the large outdoor patio with comfy couches, giant Jenga, and picnic tables.

8. Lecom Park

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Cheer on the Pittsburgh Pirates during spring training at Lecom Park.

9. Tampa Bay Brewing Company

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Only a few minutes from Tampa International AirportTampa Bay Brewing Company is a convenient stop to enjoy the sun on the outdoor patio. We order a flight from the ten beers on tap and wait for our lunch to arrive.

February/May 2018